Email on HB 1814 and SB 862

I sent the following email to Sen. King and sent similar ones to Sen' Collins and Reps. Pingree and Michaud. I urge others to write to them objecting to the law.

Dear Senator King:

I was seriously dismayed by your sponsorship of Senate Bill 862, granting exemption from health insurance requirements under Obamacare to anyone expressing “a sincerely-held religious belief” against health insurance.

While I think that it is essential that the government recognize the power religious convictions have over their believers and when feasible accommodate them, accommodation in this instance is not necessary and simply invites abuse.

There is an important distinction between the health insurance requirement and the exemption from military draft of conscientious objectors. (Actually religious belief is not a requirement for conscientious objector status under the law.) Obamacare does not require that anyone buy health insurance. If you do not buy coverage you pay a "tax," the Supreme Court's characterization of the penalty. A religious objection to paying taxes has never been recognized by law or by the courts.

People seeking an exemption under the bill would have to include sworn statements with their tax returns explaining their objection to carrying health insurance. That puts a burden on the IRS according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D.-Calif., who said it would leave it up to the IRS to define the language of the bill and decided what a “sincerely held religious belief” is. "This is impossibly difficult to enforce, and frankly, it is not a role we want the IRS to take on," he said.

Given the incessant over-the-top attacks on Obamacare by its extremist opponents, I anticipate that Senate Bill 862 will be widely abused.